On 1 July 1921 the South London Press reported on a recent fund-raising during which they presented a minstrel show. Much frowned on now, at that time, minstrels shows, in which performers appeared in evening dress and blackface and sang negro spirituals and popular ballads, were regarded as perfectly acceptable forms of entertainment.
The Police Minstrels were founded in 1872 and raised £250,000 for police charities. They were disbanded in 1932.
The “W” division of the Metropolitan Police played at the unveiling and dedication of the memorial in May 1922.
The South London Press report is given verbatim.
SOUTH LONDON PRESS
1 July 1921
STOCKWELL WAR MEMORIAL.
Police Minstrels Help by Concert at Brixton Theatre.
The Metropolitan Police Minstrels can always be relied upon to give a good entertainment wherever they go and their visit to the Brixton Theatre on the afternoon of June 23, when they gave a performance in aid of the Stockwell Memorial Fund, was quite up to expectations. They put up a rattling good show which was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience, which, by the way, in no sense represented the number of tickets sold. The programme, long and well varied, included two sketches, which are as popular now as on the day they were first submitted, and the Minstrels are now in their forty-ninth season. One sketch was entitled “A Parisian Romance,” written and composed by Mr. J. W. Olive, C.B.E. (assistant Commissioner) (president of the Minstrels), which was capitally presented and thoroughly deserved the warm applause accorded at the fall of the curtain. The other was a Black and White number entitled, “A Jamaican Love Match,” for which Mr. Olive was also responsible. This also reached a high point of excellence and was much appreciated. The characters in both were capitally portrayed. Interspersed between the sketches were a number of items by individual members of the Minstrels. Mr. F. Loud gave “The Gay Cavalier” in costume, in tip-top style, his rich baritone voice being especially pleasing in this and a ballad, “Memories at Eventide.” A well-executed song and dance was added by Messrs. W. C. Eade and J. Rushmore, and Mr. F. T. Masters was heard to advantage in whistling and comic songs. The interlocutor, Mr. A. Crouch, contributed a monologue and other items were given by Messrs. C. Dean, J. D. Morgan, J. Hillier and E. Heard. Prior to the enertainment the band of the “W” Division, Metropolitan Police, under Bandmaster F. W. Sylvester, rendered many choice selections, the band inspector being Chief Inspector T. Coombs. The duties of the stage manager were in the able hands of Mr. W. Baker, with Mr. F. T. Masters as assistant. Mr. Fred Melville granted the use of the theatre and Messrs. J. Clarke and L. Charles were chiefly responsible for the arrangements. A party of about 20 patients from the Surgical Neurological Hospital, Tooting, was amongst the audience. The fund will benefit considerably as a result of the matinee, and a reminder is issued by the hon. secretary of the committee, 282, Clapham-rd., that names to be included on the roll of honour must be registered by August 3.
The foundations of the memorial have now been laid and work on the actual clock tower is to begin forthwith. It is hoped that this will be completed by the end of October.